Notes and Recommendations for April 2, 2014 Meeting with President Frank

Key Structural, Institutional Action that Would Make a Difference

We spent some time discussing some very real (and doable) items that could make a very real difference to women (and men) faculty members at CSU.  We should work to expand this list by a few more if we can and also think about which ones could be “quick wins” and which might take more time to achieve.

Value the plurality of scholarship across the university

Often the scholarship of women and minorities is at the fringes of various fields.  Another way to say this is that women (and minorities) tend to work at the intersections of multiple fields (multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary).  This, historically, arises in part because this is where they can find acceptance and a “place” to be within the scholarly work.  Notably, multidisciplinary or interdisciplinary work is often marginalized by “mainstream” scholars within those fields; yet this is the direction in which many funding agencies and indeed entire fields are shifting their efforts and resources.  As an institution, we should embrace this and work to actively encourage faculty hires at these intersections.  This would work to increase the diversity of the faculty and would also help with cultural issues within particular disciplines by “up-valuing” these “fringe” or interdisciplinary areas.

Action item 1:

Identification of key scholarship intersections; deployment of resources for faculty hires in these areas.

Action item 2:

Consideration of faculty hires across departments/colleges/etc., which would include explicit expectations regarding workloads across those entities as well as cost sharing on salaries and startups.  How are Schools and other SAU’s involved?  Can they be directly and explicitly involved in T & P decisions?

Develop a robust family leave plan for faculty including centralized support for “replacement hires” for family leave situations

This is a real sore spot for many faculty, especially women faculty, but also many men, and is limiting our ability to recruit (and retain) outstanding faculty.  In particular, the institution does not recognize that faculty are different from staff when it comes to their workload and needs.  Specifically, the vast majority of faculty at CSU are 9-month employees who do not qualify for annual leave and whose workload largely cycles with the academic year, not the calendar year.  Yet there is no recognition of this fact when it comes to maternity leave and/or other forms of family leave.  One of the “excuses” that we have been given over the years is that “maternity” leave (or family leave) is a benefit and thus we must give it equally to faculty and staff.  This is apparently because from an HR standpoint, faculty and staff (admin pro) are in the same HR category.  This does not recognize that most staff are 12 month employees who do qualify for annual leave as well as sick leave.  Creating a flexible institutional policy that addresses family leave issues specifically for faculty would benefit both men and women and again would enhance our reputation as a family-friendly institution.  It would acknowledge the 21st century workplace is very different than the historical norms and that the needs of faculty are as individual as the faculty themselves, all of whom are striving to balance all the demands on their time.

In addition, when a family leave situation arises, women faculty in particular are often coerced into continuing to teach or to come back to teaching after childbirth, convince a colleague to cover their classes, or make some other types of one-on-one arrangements to cover their course loads because their Department Chairs/Heads manipulate them by stating that the money is not available to cover their courses.  Deans also have been known to say that they simply do not have the funds to cover replacement instructors.  This creates a situation in which the University is seen as not being family-friendly.  If the support for such replacement instructors was centralized (i.e. in the Provost’s Office), then these types of situations would become “opt-out” not “opt-in” situations and it would not end up being a case-by case, or department-by-department managed situation, dependent on the largess of the head/chair (see below).  This would benefit both men and women faculty and would enhance our reputation as a family-friendly university.

Action item 1:

Investigate the possibility of separating staff and faculty with respect to HR classifications, specifically in the case of family leave (or in all cases, for that matter).

Action item 2:

Develop an actual maternity/paternity/family leave policy that directly addresses the needs of 9-month faculty employees.  This would include statements about teaching duties, committee services, etc.  In addition, it would be useful to centralize (i.e. Provost’s Office) work-life leave to ensure that access is not dependent on individual units/departments.

Action item 3:

Determine the true financial burden to centralize funds for replacement hires in case of family leave situations.  How many cases would we expect to have each year and what would the actual cost of course coverage be?

Action item 4:

Develop a talent pool of qualified instructors willing to take on classes in these situations.  This could be done with retired faculty members, post doctoral associates who wish to get teaching experience, etc.  Each discipline/department could work on a list, but a master list could also be held within the Provost’s Office – often we have individuals capable of teaching across departmental lines and that could also be managed/cross-listed in the Provost’s Office.  This has real benefit both to CSU faculty and to these other groups.

Action item 5:

Address the paucity of child care for CSU employees, especially faculty.  Consider creating or sponsoring an emergency child care pool that can provide child care for faculty in the case of emergencies (e.g. child is sick and cannot be placed in normal child care situation; regular babysitter is sick; faculty member must attend to other family emergency and cannot manage child care as well).

Action item 6:

Consider allowing variable time bases and adjust the probationary period accordingly.  For example, half time or 2/3 time appointments could work well for many young faculty and would allow for better accommodation of family needs.

Create a culture that values service and teaching along with research

Currently, merit pay for faculty in many sectors of the university is tied almost exclusively to performance in research/scholarship and not in teaching or service.  Women faculty, however, perform a disproportionate amount of the service, in some instances to the detriment of our scholarly endeavors.  The repercussions of this for women faculty are enormous, both within our fields and with respect to our salaries.  One way to combat this is to institutionally acknowledge this work and that women are doing a disproportionate amount of it by not allowing full merit pay to go to someone who is not performing in the realm of service.  The message is that our work as faculty members is not just about research/scholarship, but that the other legs of our mission are equally important.  The key to this is that this change must happen at the institutional level and not at the individual department level.  Department Chairs can make recommendations on the appropriate level(s) of service, but the pay decisions are made more centrally.  Faculty can continue to “opt-out” of service duties, but they will not be eligible for a full merit pay raise.  The “savings” from the merit pay percentages can be distributed to higher performers in service.  Benefits would be that faculty would become more engaged in all aspects of the university and it would clearly send the message that we value the work that is done in the category of service.

Action item 1:

Explore the logistics of centralizing some funds for support and recognition of excellence in service (and possibly in teaching) above and beyond what is required.

Action item 2:

Explore the logistics of centralizing decisions about “total amount” of merit pay afforded to individual faculty.

Create a climate and culture, specifically in the context of T&P decision (but also that transcends just T&P matters) that truly values interdisciplinary and collaboration and the other contributions of faculty

Although the University has made some strides in this area in recent years, it is still the case that interdisciplinary work and/or collaboration with others is devalued by faculty within the candidate’s home department.  As a corollary to this, women tend to be very procedural and “book followers” which often puts us at a disadvantage when it comes to thinks like tenure and promotion.  One example of this comes from a recent T&P case involving arguably one of the university’s rising stars, a female faculty member.  First, the merits of the case were not discussed in the manner normally afforded to such matters.  Furthermore, because the candidate was not the corresponding author on all of the journal articles published during her probationary period, notably the ones that came out of interdisciplinary collaborations, these publications were “discounted” and “removed” from the overall count of publications by some of the faculty voting on the T&P case.  Although this did not ultimately change the overall recommendation (which was positive), it demonstrates that the culture/climate surrounding T&P decisions is still back in the dark ages when it comes to multi-PI publications, interdisciplinary work and the nature of collaborations.  In this same case, a disparaging remark was also made about the overall case and that somewhat non-traditional aspects of it, to the effect that “If she wants (special treatment), she needs to get an outside offer.  That’s the way the big boys do it!”  Although the candidate is not likely to hear this story, it is again indicative of a culture that values aggressive macho, “lone wolf” practices over more cooperative/collaborative approaches to both doing science and being part of an organization.  This is not an isolated incident – another recent example from another unit arises from T&P committees telling female faculty members not to collaborate or be co-PI on grant proposals.  Only PI status is acceptable, which is an antiquated and damaging attitude.  Moreover, as an institution, Promoting attitudes that suggest that the only way to get attention or to be valued by the institution is to get an outside offer from another institution, ultimately damages our ability to grow and sustain excellence and is very expensive.  We would be better off taking good care of our current faculty so that we do not find ourselves constantly having to make retention offers.  The faculty are one of our biggest assets and sending the message to junior faculty that the only way they will be valued by the institution is to threaten to leave is a recipe for failure, institutionally.  Addressing some of these cultural issues surrounding the T&P process and affirm alternate ways of performing as faculty with respect to both research/scholarship as well as the other aspects of faculty work.

Action item 1:

Create an expectation that sexist and racist remarks will not be tolerated at any level in any context.

Action item 2:

Provide/require education about bias (implicit and explicit) of all faculty.  Provide a safe method for reporting of racist and sexist comments that leads to real accountability (for example, salary cuts or significant added service).

Action item 3:

Immediately address salary inequities centrally.

Enhance the dual career accommodation ability of CSU via a more robust spousal/partner accommodation policy

The University’s current policy on spousal accommodation has been viewed by many as a good first step.  It does not, however, address some of the very real needs and issues that arise in spousal accommodation.  Research has shown that hiring and retaining women faculty is more dependent on dual career accommodation than it is for male faculty (although it affects faculty of both genders).  Some of the issues with CSU’s current policy that have been identified include the following.  First, the policy has the Provost’s Office only contributing to salary costs for the accommodated spouse if the accommodation is occurring in a College that is different from the home college of the partner being offered a position.  Second, it is often difficult to get units to accommodate a spouse or partner; thus the home department/college is forced into a situation wherein they are accommodating an individual that may not be ideally placed within that unit.  This damages both partners in the relationship and creates inequities in how they are viewed within the unit as well as at the University.  Third, the spousal accommodation program does not address accommodating partners that are not seeking TT faculty positions.

Action item 1:

Evaluate the costs of expanding CSU’s current spousal/partnership accommodation program such that accommodations within the same college are equally covered with support from the central administration.  In other words, there will be no penalty for two partners in the same college or department.

Action item 2:

Consider expanding current policy to extend beyond faculty/faculty accommodation.  Have clear processes to help dual career couples find appropriate non-faculty roles at CSU or within the community if more appropriate.

Action item 3:

Hire an administrative professional to serve in the role of “relocation specialist” or some other title whose job it would be to help new faculty and their families relocate to CSU/Fort Collins.  This offer would include employment assistance as well.

Have an institutional commitment to supporting faculty

Often, faculty are not valued by the institution, usually by administrators (e.g. admissions, student affairs, legal counsel, financial services) and especially when there is a conflict between a faculty member and a student or between a faculty member or members and an outdated policy being strictly enforced.  In many of these instances, faculty are left with the feeling that they are second (or third or fourth) class citizens with no rights and that the institution does not value them as long-time employees.  There appears to be little recognition of the fact that faculty largely set the tone for the university.  If faculty feel valued, staff and students will be as well.  Notably, the opposite corollaries also hold true.

Action item 1:

Examine the possibilities of creating mechanisms for supporting faculty in situations where there is a conflict between faculty and students.  Faculty advocates could be one possibility.  The Ombuds office cannot manage all staff and faculty issues here – there needs to be someone who is specifically involved with the faculty’s best interest as their charge.

Action item 2:

Immediate salary equity.

Action item 3:

Examine faculty workload caused by inefficient or outdated polices and work to streamline those processes so as to minimize impact on faculty time.  Areas of particular concern include grants and contracts and reporting activities.

Action item 4:

As part of the “commitment to campus,” talk to faculty about what “benefits” they would be particularly interested in seeing happen on campus and work to provide those benefits specifically to faculty.  Most faulty do not benefit from/take advantage of current offerings, perhaps in part because the offerings are not of interest/relevance to faculty, but are primarily aimed at staff.

Action item 5:

Recognize and engage faculty in different ways.  For example, many faculty are season ticket holders to various sports.  Recognize these individuals by providing them with special seating, “12th man status” or other such fun things (that don’t cost anything).  Likewise, supporters of the performing arts could also be “recognized” with special seating at events.  Special parking and/or assigned parking spaces could also be considered (obviously for a fee, and perhaps a limited number).

Recognize and encourage a plurality of leadership styles and “ways of doing”

Although this also harkens back to some of the other items above, this has to do with valuing the differences that women faculty (and faculty of color) bring to the academy.  This is again a cultural shift that must happen for the university to thrive and grow and for it to be the best place for women to work.  Specifically, it appears that there is only a single, unidirectional path to faculty/administration careers in the academy.  This path was developed a long time ago by a bunch of old white men to the benefit of just those individuals.  It is fairly inflexible and does not address the fact that women (and faculty from non-Western, non-White traditions) tend to do their work differently.  Because of the many and various demands on our time, our career paths often do not “look” unidirectional.  This structural change would encourage a more fractal-based approach to leadership development and career trajectories.

Action item 1:

Develop mechanisms for “out-of -the box” thinking with respect to leadership and job progression.  Create alternate career pathways for faculty interested in administration and other forms of leadership in academia.  Administrators must stop telling faculty that there’s no way to do what you want to do at this institution, that if you want to do something different, you’ll have to go somewhere else.

Action item 2:

Educate administrators about different leadership styles and implicit bias in hiring for leadership positions.  This is NOT diversity training, but rather an educational process by which key people learn how to recognize and combat bias in the interview/hiring process as well as value alternate leadership styles.

Action item 3:

Create a group of faculty advisors of the President – women leadership and plurality of leadership styles.  Make this a position/assignment for which people can apply and create a diverse committee to select members who can serve 1-2 year terms.  Require diversity in the selection committee.

Action item 4:

Code of conduct for entire university – not just about egregious behavior, but also about the other crap we suffer from day in and day out.

Action item 5:

Stop having “leadership training” for women, especially those training activities that basically seek to teach women to be more like men.  Start having leadership training for men wherein men are taught to be more like women and to value different leadership styles (and the ability to shift between them).

Promote a culture of accountability, starting with explicitly addressing the role of department heads/chairs and more globally in the context of improving the climate for women on campus

In general, department heads/chairs have an enormous amount of power over faculty and need to be held accountable.  Notably, department heads/chairs have the ability to make decisions regarding individual faculty member’s professional situations, including (a) whether you get paid family leave (and what that looks like); (b) whether you are “punished” for taking family leave (paid or not); (c) whether you get an equity raise; (d) whether you get an equitable teaching load (including how many different courses and curricula you teach and/or newly develop, as opposed to teaching the same thing over and over); and (e) whether you are well mentored should not be at the whim of the department head/chair.  There should be accountability for observing the behaviors and supporting the values of our community at all levels (student, staff, faculty).  This accountability should also work across levels within our community, with zero tolerance for discriminatory behavior. [e.g. A GTA who hears a male student make a sexist comment to a female student in an undergraduate lab group MUST take serious and immediate action.  When a male faculty member in T&P committee discounts collaborative publications or says “she just got that grant because she’s female or because she’s riding her husband’s coattails” should have real and immediate negative consequences (e.g. wages garnished – placed in escrow where it could be recovered or contributed to programs in support of women/minority faculty).]  We must create a culture of respect and accountability across the institution and a key place to start is with faculty as faculty play a key role in creating a climate of respect across the institution.  Not holding faculty accountable for their actions within the classroom, with their colleagues, and with staff and other members of the academic community leads to a lack of respect and accountability at other levels.

Action item 1:

Establish a task force that includes department chairs, deans and faculty leaders that is charged with evaluating roles and responsibilities of Department Chairs/Heads, mechanisms for engaging Chairs/Heads and faculty in establishing and enforcing accountability standards for their units, as well as accommodating operational differences between units.  Given this task force high visibility and value – make serving on it competitive and important rather than just another burden.

Action item 2:

Promote a culture that values accountability and develop mechanisms and processes for individuals to be held accountable for their actions in the workplace and the classroom.  Have real consequences for failure to meet expectations.

Action item 3:

Review and revise policy statements regarding faculty conduct, discipline, and grievance processes, specifically addressing sanctions for faculty and specific behaviors that are unacceptable.

Action item 4:

Review all titles for faculty appointments and ensure they convey respect, regardless of appointment types.

Action item 5:

Assess faculty characteristics, performance, T&P decisions, policies (and knowledge thereof among faculty) and overall satisfaction periodically with an eye to determining how we are doing at recruiting and retaining high quality and divers faculty and how the CSU environment affects their overall productivity.  The Climate Survey is a good start, but is not specifically directed at faculty.

Get the men to help and TO DO!

They need to directly engage in recognizing and solving the problems women faculty face – it’s not just up to the women to fix and we can’t fix it without the men – the culture will only change if the men help!

Action item 1:

Start an award for men who lead the charge to change the climate for women.  Endow the award with money solicited from men.

Not sure what additional action items here are.  Confident there are more.